How to rid the yard of moles
March 31, 2005

Putting chewing gum in the mole runs is one method of ridding one's property of this pesky animal, according to Gaylord Moore, horticulture specialist for the University of Missouri Extension, but he considers that a gimmick solution that doesn't necessarily work.

“Most of the gimmicks are unsuccessful, Moore said. "But, if you have the time and patience, he added, "I heard about a retired gentlemen who had success by sitting in his lawn chair early in the morning, next to an active mole run, with a loaded shotgun aimed toward the ground, just waiting for the soil to move.”

This type of solution isn't for everyone and most definitely would rile any animal rights activist.

Of course, there's always the option of doing nothing.

"Although the ridges from mole tunnels make lawn mowing difficult and unsightly, they seldom kill the grass," Moore said. "Moles are not vegetation eaters and do not destroy bulbs or plants, although they can upset the root system."

A better option might be to reduce a mole's primary food supply found in the soil: spiders, earthworms, snail larvae, and insects and larvae such as white grubs, although Gaylord points out that using insecticides for this purpose may just cause the moles to seek greener pastures. He reminded everyone that many of the chemicals that control grubs also kill earthworms which are beneficial to the soil.

"Moles have high-energy requirements," Moore said. "They can eat 70 to 80 per cent of their body weight daily, which keeps them on the move."

Moore considers trapping and physically removing the mole the only proven solution. The Victor harpoon trap, one of three trap models on the market, in his opinion gives good results, but he stresses that success depends on the operator's knowledge of the moles' habits.

Moore recommends selecting a place in the runway where there is evidence of fresh work and where the burrow runs in a straight line. This indicates the tunnel is used each day as a travel route by the mole.

After two days with no results, move the trap to a new location. The mole likely has changed its habits, the runway has been disturbed too much or the mole has detected your trap, said Moore.

For additional information about the habits of moles, or tips on how to control moles, contact the Master Gardener Hotline, (417) 862-9284. Home improvement stores also carry chemicals that may be spread in the area where tunnels appear and in the surrounding areas. This had been a proven method for handing the mole problem over to your neighbors.

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